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Between 2021 and 2022, Canadian hospitals supported over 2.9 million patients. From getting help with healing a broken bone to bringing a brand new life into the world, people across the country rely on healthcare institutions for care and support. 

However, despite the commonly accepted importance of hospitals, many people don’t consider the charitable arms of the hospitals that help make healthcare happen: hospital foundations!

Hospital foundations have done incredible things for the hospitals they support, from new buildings and equipment to novel programs and cutting-edge research… but their donation history doesn’t always reflect that. 

It’s time for foundations to try something new to raise funds (and awareness), offering people an easier way to support the organizations that are truly changing lives. 

A Brief History of Hospitals and Fundraising

In 1639, Canada’s first hospital opened in Quebec City. A French missionary named Jeanne Mance built the Hôtel-Dieu de Québec from the ground up, funding the hospital with donations solicited from wealthy philanthropists back in France. 

Fast forward to 2023, and Canada is home to over 760 hospital foundations. By (unknowingly) encouraging people to spend for good, Jeanne inspired a centuries-long commitment to hospital philanthropy that we’re still growing and developing today. 

Unique Considerations for Hospital Fundraising

While hospital foundations are abundant country-wide, that doesn’t mean they don’t face challenges…and some unique ones, at that. 

One of the greatest difficulties across the entire charitable and non-profit sector is the drastic decrease in charitable giving over the past number of years. Hospital foundations are no exception to the downward trend, with last year reflecting the most decelerated growth in healthcare-related giving since 2018. 

A challenge far more unique to hospital foundations, however, is managing public funding while simultaneously trying to fundraise. Not only is this a delicate balancing act to manage, but public perception related to government funding can create friction with philanthropic efforts. When potential donors see that Canada spends over $300 billion on healthcare — or that hospitals are partially funded through tax revenues — their guards go up.

For many, there isn’t a clear difference between government-funded healthcare services and additional services only made possible by hospital foundations. Without understanding this integral distinction, it can be difficult to highlight the need for additional funding, increasing the pressure on hospital foundations to “prove” their benefit. 

A hospital foundation’s ability to “prove” its worth presents another challenge unique to healthcare: patient protection. The federal and provincial regulations that protect patients are incredibly important for safety and consistently high-quality care…but they do provide substantial roadblocks for marketing and communications.

The incredible endeavours that hospital foundations undertake on a regular basis change patient lives, acting as pillars to their communities by improving the quality of (or access to) healthcare. They deserve consistent support… but there has to be a better way to get it

Finding the Solution with the Hope Factory Platform

One of the most important steps to finding a better fundraising solution for hospital foundations is better distinguishing between the foundation and the hospital itself. However, explaining this difference once isn’t going to provide a catch-all solution for hospital foundations…but implementing Hope Factory’s Round UP solution will. 

When hospital foundations implement a Hope Factory ecosystem with our Round UP solution, they can improve awareness of their role within the hospital. The hospital foundation is clearly identified as the charitable cause, with the hospital being the recipient of the Hope Factory-generated funds — no confusion about who is who. 

What’s more, positioning your associated hospital as the recipient of donations offers a clear pathway for donors to see where their dollars are going, and what they’re helping fund. 

Finally, when hospital foundations set up Hope Factory ecosystems, they stay top-of-mind for donors and supporters with the right amount of automated communication and engagement strategies. Then, when donor engagement is sustained in this way, it increases the chances of turning a one-off donor into a middle or large donor, ensuring longer-term support for the foundation.

And, to make things even easier for the people hospital foundations are hoping to reconnect with, a Hope Factory ecosystem makes donating seamless for patients and families alike. Once a donor signs up and links their card, all they have to do is shop like they usually would to support their local hospital foundation. Our Round UP solution empowers them to give back without thinking much about it — no changed habits, no mail-in cheques or forms, and no massive commitments required. 

Hospital foundations are one of the often-hidden heroes of healthcare around the world.

Whether they’re raising funds for a state-of-the-art building or pioneering advanced research, our hospital and healthcare system would be worse off without them. That’s why we need a better solution to support hospital foundations.

A Hope Factory ecosystem can raise awareness about what foundations do for hospitals while empowering patients to give back to the hospitals that helped change their lives. Hospital foundations deserve to get back the financial support they give to us… so why not make it as easy as possible to get it? Tie Giving to Spending!